Portfolio Weightings and Construction

Pay Attention to the Weightings of Your Individual Holdings When Constructing a Portfolio

One of the things that worries me from a risk management perspective is investors who don’t know what they own or their actual, real portfolio weightings. Sometimes, I’ll hear new investors say, “I own stocks” or “I own mutual funds” but neither is an answer. Those aren’t the relevant details. The real question: “In which enterprises, on what terms, and at what price has the money been invested, laid out, and exchanged?”. Much of everything else is a smokescreen serving to obfuscate reality. It’s risk-adjusted reward we’re after; reward measured in after-tax, net-of-inflation real purchasing power.

How Joe Campbell Found Himself $106,445.56 In Debt to His Broker in a Matter of Minutes Because He Didn’t Understand the Risks of Shorting Stock

One of the major themes running through my body of work, both on this site and at Investing for Beginners, can be summed up in the statement, “Know your risks”. I hammer it home all the time; “risk-adjusted return”, talk about remote-probability events, explaining how much of wealth building is learning to “tilt probabilities in [your] favor”, admonishment to never invest in something you don’t fully understand and couldn’t explain to a Kindergartener in a couple of sentences. Consider this real-life tragedy a morality tale that can help you protect your own family.